Sometimes I think I'm slow. For example, within the past year I've put forth a sincere effort to buy more locally made food products, produce, and proteins. Having an inspired love for where you reside or a deep respect for the cultivation of the food we eat has already lead many, many people to become active in the local food movement. I suppose that's why I think I'm slow; I should have been doing this as long as I've been shopping for food.
Along my local journey I have seen and eaten some of Florida's most beautiful edible creatures. The light and sweet oranges off the Triolo's backyard tree, Plant City gargantuan strawberries taken home as the prize from The Florida Strawberry Festival, and bulbous, sweet Florida white onions with long flowing green top stems are just the few named fresh and local Florida foods I now can not bear to live without. That's not even mentioning the gator! (Ok, gator isn't so out-of-this-world great. It tastes like chicken, but with added rubber and less flavor. Maybe that's a solid indicator suggesting we're not shouldn't to eat prehistoric animals...)
And then there is Orlando's own Big Wheel Provision's Strawberry Balsamic Jam. Man, oh man do I love this jam.
REVIEW : Big Wheel Provision's Strawberry Balsamic Jam
We've chatted with Chef Tony Adams of Big Wheel Provisions about his company in late 2009, and he champions using and selling local foods like many young chefs and food artisans of this conscientious era. Whenever we cross paths at any one of our local farmer's markets I'm always grinning to sample his new wares, so the moment I tasted the Strawberry Balsamic Jam's lightly biting, subtle sweetness with a smooth, silky texture I couldn't relinquish my dollar bills fast enough for my very own jar.
This jam is a dynamo as a cupboard go-to BOOM ingredient. A BOOM ingredient is an ingredient you know is going to take your dish over the top of deliciousness. It's perfect on toast and kicks up that crusty old dish to eleven with a fabulous modern flavor, it is beyond yummy on a variety of waffle flavors, a serious BFF to all chicken (as a glaze, dollyfish it is de-vine!), and my people roast beef should not ever, ever live without it. That last exclamation brings us to today's recipe and memory-inspired, Sweet n Savory Roast Beef Sandwich.
FAMILY : Saturday Sandwiches
This little ditty came to me on one of my beloved cooking days. As a 9-5er, my Saturdays in the kitchen must be like how artists feel when they can finally paint or sculpt in sheer solace and peace. I just trance out and cook and eat all day. Last Saturday I was on a roll and I decided to cook until I dropped. The day started by roasting peppercorn beef shoulder filets and a butternut squash for risotto, plus another practice run of my peach pie for The National Pie Championships just around the corner (more about that later).
All this food was dinner of course for me and my mister, but in the middle of it all I became seriously hungry and really wanted a good old Saturday sandwich. When I was just a wee gal Ma made sandwiches on Saturdays to break-up the house cleaning monotony, or for a well-deserved rest from making new blankets from old ones or tending the flower garden, or as a reward for winning my little league softball game. Her favorite sandwich when she was being bad (ladies know) and totally treating herself was an open-face tuna sandwich with celery and onion on rye with New Jersey tomato slices and American cheese. Mama Mia, the meltiness!
Dear God I can taste that sandwich even as I write about it now. But those are days gone-by and today I hardly eat mayo unless is Grapeseed Oil Veganaise because I have an odd infatuation with that spread. (Its grapes! Amazing.) These days I go ga-ga over sweet and savory flavor combination, and when it dawned on me that I simultaneously had freshly roasted beef and strawberry balsamic jam beckoning to me I knew I could taste nostalgia with my own open-face sandwich creation. And just like that a flavor epiphany and a food memory became the spectacular Open-Face Sweet n Savory Roast Beef Sandwich.
- 1 lb peppercorn beef shoulder filets = about 4 sandwiches.
- 4 large pieces of whole grain sourdough bread
- strawberry balsamic jam
- 4 cups fresh arugula; measure with pushing the arugula into the cups.
- 8 slices of fontinella cheese; 2 per sandwich
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Roast the peppercorn beef shoulder filet at 325 for 40-50 minutes depending on desired done-ness. I like medium rare, so I stopped at about 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes.
- Turn oven up to 400.
- Lightly toast pieces of bread in the oven.
- Rough chop up arugula and remove any long stem pieces from the pile.
- Cutting against the grain, cut 3 large, thin pieces of beef per sandwich.
- Smear each piece of bread with strawberry balsamic jam from Big Wheel Provisions.
- Layer roast beef pieces on top of the jam.
- Place about 1 cup of fresh arugula on top of the steak.
- Cover the arugula with fontinella cheese and put it into the 400 degree hot oven.
- Let the cheese completely melt; about 3-4 minutes.
- Take the open-face sandwich out of the oven and cut in half-lengthwise.
- Serve immediately for a sweet and savory sexy roast beef sandwich